Whats the worst that could happen?

“Gravitational waves are…ripples in the fabric of space and time”(Cho). Gravitational waves were only real in theory but one was detected for the first time in 2015 by LIGO(Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory). It was caused by 2 black holes swirling in very close proximity to one another. 

LIGO may help advance remote-sensing or communications technologies by studying gravitational waves. Militaries around the world are pouring money into the study of Gravitational Waves because they are “unaffected by obstructions such as the mass of the earth and thus offers a promise of world-wide, ground-based communications and navigation systems.”(https://www.sbir.gov/node/386412) Meaning they could possibly use gravitational waves to communicate more effectively and cheaply as geographical obstructions and the cost and maintenance of satellites would no longer be a factor in communication. I had a stark contrast when reading these articles as I read Cho’s first and then the department of defense article on Gravitational Waves second. After realising the military had a use for this discovery, the military industrial complex had revealed itself and my mood had shifted of one of optimism and excitement, to adding fear and skepticism to the equation. 

I don’t understand the full scope and application of gravitational waves. But if it is able to survey/observe land around the world from a ground based location that has scary consequences. And history isn’t exactly reassuring to how this technology would be used. As in the 70s the US used satellite technologies(Landsat Program) to observe the word and sell off the information that those satellites observed. Exxon Mobile used this information to detect oil in third world countries and start drilling. And many other mining companies used landsat for the exact same reason. “In this way, American officials and allied corporations used the Landsat program, a tool sold as a global and environmental good, to shore up national and economic gain.”(Black Pg. 101) and there hoped that satellites “would be a vehicle—and space would be a new and resistance-free pathway—to convey the United States farther into the mineral reserves of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.”(Black Pg. 99) came true. If gravitational waves are able to do this type of observing from inside countries borders in top secret military installations who knows how much privacy breaches they could commit. They could potentially observe people’s every movement and really start big bothering us. Not to mention that it could lead to the discovery of more natural resources leading to more CO2 emissions further contributing to global warming.

This is yet another concerning technology being pushed by our friendly neighborhood military-industrial complex. 

One thought on “Whats the worst that could happen?

  1. I think it is interesting that you touched on the actual research of gravitational waves as being beneficial to the military. I thought that maybe the equipment could be helpful as it is powerful and sensitive, but it is interesting that the gravitational waves themselves could be used for communication. I also agree that with basically any big scientific advancement involving the military, there should be some scepticism. This detection technology can definitely be scary, especially considering what is likely to come after. What comes to mind is oil, as you mentioned. Along with the capitalist thirst for oil likely comes war for that territory. It seems that this advanced military technology is part of a constant cycle that benefits itself – not science as a whole.

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